After speculation that’s been going on for years (indeed, I’ve been covering the murmurs since at least 2010) Southwest Airlines announced plans to fly to Hawaii back in October. They’ll initially operate with 737 Next Generation aircraft and eventually replace those with longer range 737 MAX planes.
The plan remains to begin selling tickets this year with flights operating next year. And they’ve confirmed they won’t just fly from the Mainland to Hawaii but will also offer interisland flights as well — though those won’t come at least until the end of next year.
They’ve confirmed service from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento and expect to fly to Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Lihue.
Southwest also says that its fares will be lower than those of competitors. No doubt initially that’s true, to make a splash in the market and because there won’t initially be awareness otherwise (and they don’t sell tickets through traditional online agencies). They expect their Hawaii service to boost credit card customer acquisitions. Aspirational destinations are a key element in driving card signups and spend.